I have just re-read (for the umteenth time) The Song of Albion Trilogy - and loved it as much as I did the first time.
Lawhead is an outstanding write...moreI have just re-read (for the umteenth time) The Song of Albion Trilogy - and loved it as much as I did the first time.
Lawhead is an outstanding writer that knows how to bring historical fiction to life. He writes as a Christian, without destroying the storyline with awkward Christian-esque metaphors, allegories and evangelical slogans.
In this series one cannot help but think of the main character as a Christ figure, and yet it is set in an alternate ancient pagan Celtic religious context. At various climax points in the Trilogy he lays down his life for his people by performing the hero feat - saving their world from utter destruction. While God is not specifically mentioned, we know that it is the "Sure-Swift-Hand" that saves them over and over again.
For a tale of adventure, virtue and courageous loving leadership - I can't recommend these books too highly!(less)
This is science fiction at its best. The Enders Series is immensely entertaining, and fulfilling in its capacity to re-humanize us.
ENDER’S GAME: I ju...moreThis is science fiction at its best. The Enders Series is immensely entertaining, and fulfilling in its capacity to re-humanize us.
ENDER’S GAME: I just finished my 2nd reading of this uniquely wonderful book. Several years ago my youngest son told me that it is all the rage and that I just had to read it, which I did, initiating my sojourn through much of the corpus of Orson Scott Card’s masterful fiction. It was not until today that I realized that I had failed to review this book, a sad mistake I now atone for.
This 1991 edition included an “Introduction” not previous written, which I strongly recommend for a wonderful biographical glimpse into the way Card sees his life and career, and his own perspective on the story (including some of his reflections on comments from some of Ender’s Game critics).
One of the powerful things about the book is that it is written from the perspective of a child, and other children – very gifted children – that in many ways remind us of ourselves. Think about the way we adults view children (i.e. young, inexperienced, foolish, innocent, ignorant, etc). Now, consider the way you perceived of yourself and other children around you when you were a child. If you were like me when I was a child, and the child protagonists of Card’s story, you can relate to children that think deeply, feel passionately and have aspirations (if not capacities) for goodness and greatness that they are not always given credit or opportunities for. I’m convinced that Ender’s Game story works on every level, and seems to be appealing to both children and adults.
Also from the introduction: “Why do..we read fiction anyway? Not to be impressed by somebody’s dazzling language…I think that most of us…read these stories that we know are not “true” because we’re hungry for another kind of truth: The mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because if is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world always has the possibility of being about ourself.”
For too much of my adult life I thought that “true-truth” came only through serious, dense, theologically correct books (especially those that were hardbound, at least two and a half inches thick, and written by people who are now long dead). I’ve learned that very often there are lessons, truths and wisdom that can only be apprehended through stories (historical AND fiction), and sometimes in ways that we are not immediately conscious of or can reasonably consider. Some positive impacts of story come only after reflection, and having the story come to bring meaning to our “real” lives as analogy, illumination, or, if you will, a premonition. I believe I am a better human being, a better thinker, a better Christian because I read fiction, like Ender’s Game. What is more, I’m a happier person to have my mind and imagination excited, challenged and tickled down to my fancy. Oh, that more of God’s children would read more good books!
ENDER’S GAME is compelling as a story, but it also asks us to think about big questions. Is it right for one person to direct another, with the other’s consent, to sacrifice their lives and happiness for the sake of mankind? Is it true that we are individually merely tools for the survival and prospering of humanity? Do the needs of humanity justify doing despicable things? Or does our individual freedom, our personal happiness, and the rights of others (even strangers) to live and thrive condition and limit the intrusion of humanity into the lives of people? These are some of the questions that Cards wants us to consider with serious human empathy, and to experience the implications of the answers with Ender and in our lives. [I believe Card gives hints about the answers to many of these questions in this book. However, if you go on to read seriously the other books in the series, “Speaker For The Dead” and “Xenocide” and “Children of the Mind,” you will end up with a fuller answer to most of these questions. Press on, dear reader!]
**spoiler alert** MacDonald, famously known as a chief influence of C.S. Lewis, I've always found a bit average. Lilith I found exceedingly tedious an...more**spoiler alert** MacDonald, famously known as a chief influence of C.S. Lewis, I've always found a bit average. Lilith I found exceedingly tedious and frustrating for the first half of the book. I had no idea what the book was about, where it was going and where I had been journeying from. Once I got to the middle I decided that this was probably MacDonald's intention. Life is like that - a journey we seldom really understand as we travel. We don't know our place in this world often times, and understand even less about the world around us and God's purposes.
It turns out that the main character needed to learn to humble himself and learn to die so that he can live. Pity that MacDonald didn't interact with the idea of dying to oneself while we live. He was overcome by the Platonic dualism that asserts that earthly life is merely preparation for heaven and heavenly realities. So much the more interesting and edifying would the book have been if Mr. Vane learned about the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven through his journeys and adventures.(less)